There are 13 games across the majors on Monday, nine of which will make up the main evening slate on Yahoo. There is a severe shortage of quality starting pitchers set to make the mound, so loading up on hitters could prove to be a winning strategy. Let’s break the games down to see where an advantage can be gained.
The biggest name and most expensive pitching option on this slate is David Price ($47). He didn’t pitch much in spring training, allowing seven runs across 6.2 innings. An illness slowed down his preparation for the season, so there’s no guarantee that he’s ready to pitch deep into this contest. While he might be highly owned due to his name and lack of quality options across the board, he’s expensive and has a tough foe in the A’s. Buyer beware.
Injuries have hampered the Dodgers‘ starting rotation right out of the gate, which has opened up a spot for Julio Urias ($35). He was lights out this spring, posting a 0.51 WHIP and 15 strikeouts across 15.2 innings. This is a stellar matchup for him against the anemic Giants offense. He’s shown strikeout upside in the minor leagues, so expect Urias to be another popular option.
With strikeouts being a category to target in DFS, Caleb Smith ($32) could also be highly owned despite a tough matchup against the improved Mets. He recorded a 27 percent strikeout last year and had a whopping 19 punch outs across 13.1 innings this spring. A lot of the Mets best hitters are left-handed, including Brandon Nimmo, Robinson Cano and Michael Conforto. This could be an opportunity for the left-handed Smith to provide value at his reasonable price tag.
The Cubs lost two of three games against the Rangers to start the season, but their offense was clicking with 28 runs in the series. They’ll face Sean Newcomb on Monday, who struggled with his control last year and finished with a 1.33 WHIP. While expensive, Kris Bryant ($22) and Javier Baez ($26) should be highly owned. Also expect Albert Almora Jr. ($8) to be a popular play based on his cheap price and his career .346 wOBA against left-handed pitchers.
Speaking of teams who are lighting up the score board, the Dodgers hung 42 runs on the Diamondbacks during their four-game series. Now they’ll face Drew Pomeranz and the Giants, which should be another mismatch. Pomeranz was a disaster for the Red Sox last year, posting a 1.77 WHIP, 12.8 percent walk rate and allowing 1.5 HR/9. He also allowed a .401 wOBA against right-handed hitters, so expect Justin Turner ($22), A.J. Pollock ($21) and Enrique Hernandez ($15) to be popular options.
The Red Sox pitchers had a hard time slowing down the Mariners during their four-game series, but their offense was fine with 24 runs scored. Their lineup is one of the most talented in the league, so look for them to be heavily deployed against Aaron Brooks and the A’s. For his career, Brooks has a 14.4 percent strikeout rate and a 1.73 WHIP. That’s not exactly a recipe for success. J.D. Martinez ($25) and Mookie Betts ($25) figure to be the highest owned options with Xander Bogaerts ($19) likely not too far behind them.
It’s going to be hard to pass on a Red Sox stack against Brooks, especially on a night with so few expensive starting pitching options. While it would be hard to roster both Martinez and Betts, pairing one of them with Bogaerts and Mitch Moreland ($14) or Jackie Bradley Jr. ($15) could make a lot of sense.
A Cubs stack should also be towards the top of the ownership leaderboard. It it might seem like pairing Baez with Bryant would destroy your budget, but adding in Almora would only result in a total expense of $56. For comparison, a Red Sox stack of Betts, Bogaerts and Moreland would check in at $58. The Dodgers stack of Turner, Pollack and Hernandez would also cost $58. If you want to go with an even cheaper option for the Dodgers, Austin Barnes ($11) and his career .346 wOBA against left-handers is appealing.
In terms of a sneaky stack that might have low ownership percentages, rolling with the Rays against Chad Bettis might not be a crazy idea. The Rays only scored 11 runs during their four-game series against the Astros, but facing Bettis won’t be nearly as difficult of a task. For his career, he has a 1.46 WHIP and a 16.4 percent strikeout rate. He’s allowed a higher wOBA against right-handed hitters for his career (.366) than he has lefties (.321), putting just about everyone in play for the Rays. Tommy Pham ($21), Austin Meadows ($16) and Ji-Man Choi ($13) would cost a total of just $50. Even Yandy Diaz ($15) could provide value.